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A Long Way To Go And A Short Time To Get There

David Bowman
David Bowman
BY: David Bowman ON October 11, 2011

A recent survey of marketers by Duke University  reveals some interesting things about the current state of the industry.  The study, led by Christine Moorman, surveyed more than 3,600 marketing professionals, with responses from 250 of them.  Questions ranged from market dynamics, growth strategies, performance, social media, jobs, organization and leadership.  The study if filled with nuggets of useful information.  Of particular interest to me was a question asked in the section on social media.

How Effectively Social Is Social Media Integrated With Your Firm’s Strategy and Marketing Strategy?
The response was based on a scale of 1 to 7 with 1 being not integrated at all and 7 being very integrated.  

The results were surprising to me.

  • 22% of respondents ranked their firm as Not Integrated At All with the overall strategy.
  • 16% of respondents said their firm as Not Integrated At All with their marketing strategy.
  • If you combine the responses of 1 and 2 you learn that basically 40% of companies have very little or no integration between social media and company strategy and 29%, nearly 1/3, have little or no integration between social media and marketing strategy.
social media integration

This data really goes to show that there is a lot of untapped potential in social media.  It seems to me that what we have seen in recent years is basically a combination of land grab and giant science project.  Get out there and do something because everybody else is.  Go see what works, and we can worry about if it makes business sense later.  My guess is that as social media continues to mature and we businesses get a better idea of how to use these tools, strategic integration will increase dramatically.

Like all communication platforms, it takes people a little while to figure things out.  There is another piece of data later in the study that shows these same marketers intend to allocate bigger pieces of the budget to social media in the years ahead.  I take this to mean that many in the industry recognize the future potential of social media as well as their current shortcomings – and that they plan to remedy things in the very near future.

Duke Study Marketing Spending Social Media

The good news is this.  If you don’t feel like your firm is using social media strategically as a means for accomplishing measurable, meaningful goals and objectives, you are in good company.  Apparently, there are plenty of businesses who are out there surfing the social seas without any sort of plan.  Perhaps you are not as far behind the rest of the world as you thought.  However realize that the time to act is now.  Companies are investing time and money in figuring out how to use social media in new and exciting ways to drive results.  Social media is rapidly maturing and the bar continues to be raised.  Just showing up is no longer enough.

As the brilliant philosopher Jerry Reed so famously sang, “We’ve Got A Long Way To Go, And A Short Time To Get There.”

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